Written by Zulfick Farzan
01 Nov, 2020 | 12:47 pm
Colombo (News 1st); Following the recent decommissioning from the naval service, Ex – ‘Weeraya’ and Ex – ‘Jagatha’, the two ships which have rendered an invaluable service to the Sri Lanka Navy for more than four decades, were scuttled in the alluring waters off Trincomalee on 22nd and 26th October 2020, making them an artificial reef that can shelter fish and crustaceans.
Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne on 12th October 2020 presided over the decommissioning ceremony that had been organized in great spectacle to bid adieu to Sri Lanka Navy Ship (SLNS) ‘Weeraya’ and ‘Jagatha’ belonged to the 3rd Fast Gun Boat Squadron, at the Naval Dockyard Trincomalee.
Before the duo of ships being plunged down to place themselves on a sandy bottom off Trincomalee, all their reusable mechanical parts were carefully removed and cleaned of all toxic components, so that no environmental pollution could occur.
Incidentally Ex – ‘Weeraya’ (P 311) on 22nd October 2020 found her new home on the sea bed somewhere between Rocky Point and Sandy Bay in Trincomalee and Ex – ‘Jagatha’ (P 315 ) too were scuttled quite close to her decommissioned partner on 26th of this month.
As the two ships were positioned about 25 meters northeast of the second underwater museum in Sri Lanka, which was declared opened by the Navy last July off the coast of Sandy Bay, it is expected that the fish breeding environment that has already been created at the underwater museum will be further extended to the artificial reef of Ex – ‘Weeraya’ and Ex – ‘Jagatha’ unhesitatingly.
On a similar note, Sri Lanka Navy in 2018 also sank the auxiliary ship ‘A 522’ in Western seas off Negombo to form an artificial reef. The auxiliary ship A 522, earlier known as ‘We Ling’, used by the Navy after she was abandoned due to a technical failure in the Eastern seas during the conflict period.
The Navy hopes that this new marine ecosystem, which is blossoming in leaps and bounds off the coast of Sandy Bay, will be a great opportunity for the fishing community in the area to reap greater economic benefits in the future as well as to attract more tourists to the Eastern Province in the time to come.
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